There’s no such thing as affordable housing in Toronto

By Julia Mastroianni | Nov 5, 2020 |

The phrase is a favourite for municipal and federal governments alike, but its meaning has become deceptively confusing over the years: affordable housing. The term has been used to describe rental rates for middle-class households, to gesture widely to a “crisis” plaguing Toronto and to refer to housing supposedly made for the city’s most vulnerable communities. 

But who is affordable housing really for? Housing advocates say that the term has changed so much that it has become meaningless, vaguely pointing to a level of affordability that is nowhere near accessible for the city’s currently unhoused population.

Affordable housing in Toronto could refer to a variety of housing structures, including subsidized, modular, supportive, rent-geared-to-income and social housing. Each has a slightly different purpose and represent different levels of “affordable.”